I'm fascinated by these videos of animals having birthdays, started by this especially surreal video Xeni sent me of a skunk named Peaches celebrating her first birthday. Do the animals understand that it's their birthday? How, precisely, does one celebrate an animal's birthday? Sometimes it's a big party for the owners, but sometimes it's just throwing a cupcake to a pig in a driveway. There seem to be a lot of different animals having different kinds of birthday celebrations memorialized on YouTube, and I've collected a few in this playlist.
It's actually my birthday today, and in lieu of the usual wall posts I've asked my Facebook friends to send me videos of animals having birthdays. If you find any good ones, add them to the comments below!
Today, when almost every major city in America has a science museum with hands-on, interactive exhibits, that particular format of education seems pretty obvious. But it wasn't always.
In 1969, Frank Oppenheimer opened the Exploratorium, the first American museum to use these now-familiar educational tools. The experiment was sort of a combination of the skills Oppenheimer had learned as a high school science teacher (he spent several years teaching school after being blackballed from research science due to Red Scare paranoia) and what he saw happening in European science museums of the time.
Oppenheimer would have turned 100 years old today. Celebrate with this video, where he explains the ideas that led to the creation of the Exploratorium. It's a fascinating look at the once-revolutionary origins of a paradigm that was so successful, we now take it completely for granted.